Smiles to Go
by Jerry Spinelli
I was having a conversation about books the other day with one of my sisters. I was telling her how I prefer books (and movies too) with stories that center around people.... well-developed characters whose lives are changed by the events in the stories or their relationships with other people; people who learn about themselves and grow from their experiences... stories that are "human" regardless of whether it's science fiction, fantasy, romance, comedy, drama, etc. A book that is filled with action and exciting events but lacks character development simply bores me to tears. The best books have interesting characters and a great plot. But a good plot doesn't have to complex.
This is one of those books with a simple story line about people and their relationships with other people... teenagers, their friends, and their family members. As an adult reading a book about teenagers and for teenagers I found myself smiling at the memories of being one myself, but I enjoyed it on another level... human emotion is very powerful, whatever your age or the age of those you read about.
There is nothing offensive, but since the narrator is a teenager who begins to have romantic feelings toward his best friend, a girl he has known since kindergarten, there is some kissing and drama of that type that should probably be avoided by younger children. Also, there are some pretty intense emotional moments, and a tragic accident that could be frightening. The subject matter is definitely for older children and teens. Adults will enjoy it too.
Age recommendation: 12 - 16 years